Founded in 2006, Alewerks Brewing has continued to impress beer drinkers everywhere. Its limited release beers have been the stars and its barrel-aging program continues to grow.
Since 2010, Alewerks has released Café Royale, a bourbon barrel-aged coffee milk stout. This year, Alewerks decided to brew Café Royale as a blend of various aged beers.
According to Michael Claar, Alewerks operations manager, it uses three different ages: three months, six months and 12 months—all aged in barrels from A. Smith Bowman of Fredericksburg, Va..
Poured from a 22-ounce bottle, Café Royale shows a pitch black color with a minimal fizzy, tan head and almost non-existent spotty lacing. As it is brought close to the nose, I get my first whiffs of bourbon and then a sweet and cool feeling, followed by some oak, cocoa and oddly enough, wet animal fur.
The bourbon is very present, although it feels like the ice was left to melt and the flavor is slightly watery. I also get wet oak, roasted coffee and a very very light hop bitterness at the end. Carbonation is fine for the style, mouth feel is slightly coating and slick and the finish is relatively clean with a short-lived alcohol burn, a creamy milkiness and a bit of a tannic feel.